"Reporting Problems" Delay Iowa Results

All eyes are on Iowa for tonight's caucus results. But problems with reporting have delayed the results .

Iowa is complicated. I remember from 2008 that the caucus I attended was like musical chairs. First everyone goes to their part of the auditorium where someone is holding their candidate's sign. After a preliminary vote, the candidates who didn't get 15% were eliminated. Then the hard bargaining begins with the candidates who made the cut vying for the votes of the losers' supporters. Then they voted again. Edwards and Hillary ended up being 7 votes apart, state-wide. Nobody got any actual delegates -- what they got were delegates to the state convention which in June, 2008 picked national delegates.

This year the rules changed so things are even murkier. As the New York Times reports: [More...]

Instead of the usual one result, the Democratic Party will report three sets of results: a projection of delegate totals (state delegate equivalents, often called S.D.E.s), the raw vote totals at the beginning of the caucuses (the first alignment), and the final totals after nonviable candidates, or those who did not receive 15 percent support at a precinct, have been eliminated and their supporters have chosen another candidate or decided to sit it out (the final alignment).

It's not exactly clear where the break down in reporting occurred tonight, but since it sounds like Joe Biden's campaign is the only one upset enough to write a letter (here) to the Democratic Party and demand to know how the votes were verified (according to NY Times Biden correspondent Thomas Kaplan) I assume he is not doing well. Also Kaplan has not provided an update from the Biden campaign in almost an hour, while the Pete and Sanders' correspondents are like energizer bunnies. (Hint: when Bernie says he "has a feeling" his numbers will be good, he's really saying he's seen the numbers and they are good -- just not verified.) Of course, it's getting late, maybe the Biden campaign just went to bed.

Biden did so poorly in Iowa in 2008 he dropped out the next day. I remember that at the caucus I went to, there was a sign with Biden's name on it but no people around it. (To be fair, I don't remember him campaigning there the last week).

Most of what I remember about being in Iowa for the 2008 caucuses was how frigid it was. The picture of the top of this post is one I took while driving from Des Moines to Cedar Rapids for a Hillary campaign event. It was ten degrees that morning.

In fact, the only positive memories I have of those Iowa caucuses are the John Mellencamp concert (for John Edwards); talking to Hillary's mother riding down the hotel elevator (she thought I was a commentator for MTV)and staying at the same hotel as Bill and Hillary and chatting with former Fox News anchor Shephard Smith at the hotel bar. I remember being so miserable from the constant packing up and schlepping of computer and camera cords and cables, lack of sufficient electrical outlets and the frigid temperatures that on the flight home I made myself a promise I would not get on another airplane for a year. It was a promise I kept. (Of course it was easy to do since the 2008 Democratic National Convention was in Denver in the summer and didn't require any airplane rides or hotel stays. That was a fun convention, as was Boston in 2004).

I suspect Bernie and Elizabeth and Pete will do the best in Iowa. And even though it should be obvious Iowans will not be deciding the Democratic nominee, just providing a bit of momentum, so long as they don't choose Biden, I'm down with whatever they decide.

< Superbowl Time: Open Thread | Partial Iowa Caucus Results Announced >
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  • Display: Sort:
    One Other Problem (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by RickyJim on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 09:48:22 AM EST
    I have the impression, from listening to the NPR report last night, that the number of people bothering to show up for a caucus is a small fraction of the number that would vote in a primary.  Please correct me if I am wrong.

    NPR is stating the obvious. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 01:00:06 PM EST
    Caucus turnouts are generally but a fraction of primary election turnouts. A caucus is a party-run event, whereas a primary election is run and sanctioned by state government.

    The main complaint about party caucuses is that they tend to favor political activists over voters, and they will quite often deliver a skewed result which may not necessarily reflect the true will of the state's Democratic or Republican electorate, as would a primary election.

    A recent case in point is the 2016 Democratic Party caucuses in Washington state, where Bernie Sanders carried 70% of the vote in which about 230,000 attended statewide. But only four weeks later in Washington's Democratic primary election, 870,000 showed up to the polls and Hillary Clinton won decisively by a 55-45% margin.



    Iowa turned out to be (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by desertswine on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 11:56:51 AM EST
    a whole lot of wasted time and money.

    The most frightening part of this (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 01:47:51 PM EST
    To me, is the media coverage.  I have no words.

    I'm starting to think they really are the enemy of the people.

    I had to turn them off (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by desertswine on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 05:54:45 PM EST
    hours ago.  Between Chris Hayes and the rest of them  I couldn't take any more.  Will someone please get Joe Namath off my tv.

    Where (none / 0) (#22)
    by FlJoe on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 02:50:29 PM EST
    have you been for the last two decades?
    tRump will probably give a moderately coherent and "non-threatening speech" and the press will declare him "presidential".

    Tomorrow the Senate will coronate him, and all of his sins will be disappeared.


    Wait (none / 0) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 02:57:29 PM EST
    moderately coherent and "non-threatening speech"



    I (none / 0) (#25)
    by FlJoe on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 03:04:49 PM EST
    should have said relatively, the bar is extremely low any case.

    I guess coherency (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 03:09:48 PM EST
    Could depend on the drug cocktail but I am not expecting non threatening.

    Like, at all.


    Of (none / 0) (#28)
    by FlJoe on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 03:15:15 PM EST
    course it all depends on the dosages right, if you know what I mean.  If he comes in too low he will slur his way through some boring teleprompter pablum and self promotion, too high and he will go off script to who knows where.  I think his minders will err on the low side.

    Part of me hopes (none / 0) (#29)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 03:16:57 PM EST
    You are wrong

    I can't decide if he was on something or (none / 0) (#35)
    by vml68 on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 05:40:20 PM EST
    NEXT (none / 0) (#30)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 03:22:06 PM EST
    We will go to STEVE KORNAKI to learn what the results will tell us.   When we get them.

    State campaign finance records ... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 03:22:47 AM EST
    ... indicate that the Iowa Democratic Party paid more than $60,000 for "website development" over two installments in November and December of 2019 to Shadow, a tech company that's affiliated with ACRONYM, a Democratic digital nonprofit group out of D.C. Shadow was recommended to the Iowa Democratic Party by the DNC to build the Iowa caucus app that contributed to tonight's clusterf*ck.

    Boo. Hiss.

    Do you remember (none / 0) (#31)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 03:32:31 PM EST
    Do you remember the Obamacare roll out.

    Yes, I do remember (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by KeysDan on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 05:38:05 PM EST
    the Obamacare roll out. But, we may be among the few who do.  Even more so for Iowa, as the media camps out in NH and, then, S.C. This is, after all, Trump time- among many examples-who can even remember Trump's "cocked and loaded" Iranian strike, oh nevermind strike.  That was decades ago, right?

    Obamacare has nothing to do with this, ... (none / 0) (#32)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 04:04:42 PM EST
    ... unless you're making an argument that we shouldn't use technology for anything.

    Thats not the arguement (none / 0) (#38)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 11:02:32 PM EST
    Using technology where appropriate is fine.  Using untested new technology in critical applications is nutso.  Stick with what works until a replacement is proven.  

    If it were up to (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 05:57:48 AM EST
    me I wouldn't even have any caucuses. Maybe it has finally gotten so bad that this will kill off any remaining caucuses. And remember the Bernie supporters on the Unity Commission wanted more caucuses.

    The one bright side (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by CST on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 09:33:19 AM EST
    Would be if this finally kills caucuses forever.

    Lots of people (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 06:51:58 AM EST
    Are saying this is not new or surprising.  That it's always been f'ed up and the only thing new is the new way of reporting the results just made it more obvious.

    This is a disaster.  For the election.  For the country.  This has to end.  If the "Iowans" are to stupid to end it the world should reward them by ignoring them and their shi+show completely next time.

    Just think how much time and money has gone into this.  Money from candidates who do not have money to burn might as well have piled it up and set it on fire.

    There is absolutely no way this should kick off the next election.  

    That said the idiot candidate probably loved this because, hey, they all won!

    You know it would have been smart if some candidate just skipped this embarrassment entirely.

    I can't wait (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 06:55:32 AM EST
    To hear what Trump says about it tonight.

    You have a stronger stomach than I. (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by Chuck0 on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 01:07:04 PM EST
    I can't listen to him bloviate for more than about 90 seconds. Then I'm done. I'll read all about it the next day.

    Mr. Zorba (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by Zorba on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 08:17:25 PM EST
    Just said that he'd rather have flaming splinters of bamboo shoved under his fingernails than listen to Trump at all.

    Irony (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 01:14:42 PM EST
    They are saying "some" results by 5 eastern.

    How may? Definitely "more than 50%"

    What a pig f'ck


    Well the good news is (none / 0) (#6)
    by ragebot on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 09:47:37 AM EST
    Bad Omen (none / 0) (#9)
    by MKS on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 12:13:59 PM EST
    Trump's approval numbers going up.

    Iowa is FUBAR.  And it appears the race may end up being between Warren and Bernie.  Oy.

    This election could be hard.

    Bernie (none / 0) (#10)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 12:43:27 PM EST
    is busy torching his campaign. It isn't going to be him but Warren still has a shot.

    It might be him (none / 0) (#15)
    by CST on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 01:17:58 PM EST
    At this point it'a hard to discount the idea that no one will get an outright majority.  In which case it could definitely still be Sanders.  But I agree that Warren is still in this thing.  So is Biden. So is Bloomberg.  Pete - remains to be seen but least likely, IMO, even if he eeks out a win in Iowa.

    The question is do voters ever consolidate or does it stay a 4-5 person race?  No consolidation would help Bernie, since he has a low ceiling but high floor.


    Someone sees an opening (none / 0) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 01:24:00 PM EST
    From the article that you linked to... (none / 0) (#18)
    by vml68 on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 01:53:18 PM EST
    He also said that Bloomberg was not inclined to clash directly with other Democrats, warning that such a conflict could weaken the party for the general election.

    Could someone send this memo to Sander's surrogates.


    Bernie (none / 0) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 02:28:31 PM EST
    cannot seem to break 25% in polling. And when it culls down I don't see him getting past that. I mean Steyer is polling better than him in SC to the point that Bernie is not even viable and he may not be viable in a lot of Super Tuesday states. If Warren cannot expand her voting base it is going to be the same story for her. Now is the time for her to make a play for that. We will see if she does.

    I am ready for a head-to-head between (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Peter G on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 02:55:13 PM EST
    the two remaining authentically qualified candidates, Warren and Klobuchar, over ideas vs "electability."

    Purist (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by MKS on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 03:11:21 PM EST
    Yea but (none / 0) (#20)
    by CST on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 02:43:56 PM EST
    If no one drops out, 25% could be a plurality.  If everyone keeps pulling 20ish%, no one will drop out.

    And if Bernie gets a plurality but isn't the nominee - God help us all.


    Bernie's (none / 0) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 02:48:49 PM EST
    plan is to get a plurality. He knows he cannot win the primary outright and he will use whatever delegates he gets to attempt to blackmail the party into nominating him. So therefore he needs to be taken out soon. Yesterday was a good start to getting rid of him.

    It will certainly (none / 0) (#12)
    by KeysDan on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 01:07:01 PM EST
    be hard.  The uptick in Trump's poling may relate, in part, to the dispiriting of Democrats upon the public demonstration of the Republican Party aiding and abetting Trump's flaunting  of the rule of law,  abuse of power and contempt of Congress.

    While the effect of seeing blatant collaboration on TV may be short-lived, the hard road will continue with Democrats overcoming themselves and unifying behind a candidate, overcoming the media's determination for a horse race and their continued program of normalizing the abnormal.


    In (none / 0) (#33)
    by FlJoe on Tue Feb 04, 2020 at 05:19:56 PM EST
    case you think caucuses are the only flaw in the nominating process. Open Primary  
    Let me present the  On Tuesday, the Post and Courier reported that several local Republican officials and Tea Party leaders in Upstate South Carolina are launching a campaign to urge Republican voters to participate in the Democratic presidential primary -- and back Sen. Bernie Sanders